We are at the end of 2 Samuel, which has taken me over a year to cover, believe it or not. Today we will cover David’s parting words, the mightiest men under him, and a sin of David’s that cost a severe punishment. Yes, a death angel is involved.
Today’s Reading | 2 Samuel 23 & 24
The very beginning gives a short summary of how David was chosen by God to be king. The Spirit of God spoke through David. He was righteous and he feared the Lord. God has chosen his bloodline and made an everlasting covenant with him.
The men described as David’s mightiest warriors are certainly mighty.
The first, Jashobeam, was the leader of the top three. He used one spear to kill 800 men in one battle.
Eleazar stood with David in a battle against the Philistines when everyone else had fled. He killed with his sword until his arms were too tired to lift it and then God gave him a great victory. The army, which had fled, did not return until it was time to gather the plunder.
The third, Shammah, also refused to leave when the rest of the army got attacked & fled, this time in a field full of lentils. The Lord also gave him a victory!
The Three, as they are referred to, once crossed enemy lines to bring David some water from a well. David, instead of drinking it, gave it to the Lord as an offering claiming the water was precious because of the blood of the men who could have lost their lives getting it.
Along the top Three, David had thirty mighty men. Correction, scripture says 37 total.
One man became as famous as the Three because he speared, in one battle, 300 men.
Ch. 24 – Census
This event is discussed in 1 Chronicles 21:01. It says Satan actually incites David to take a census. God can and will use what Satan causes others to do as a way to refine. We see this with Job and with Paul when Paul had a thorn placed in his flesh by a messenger of Satan.
God’s anger was against Israel and David was caused to harm them. (v.1) see note above
God tells him to count the people of Israel and Judah. David tells Joab and the commanders of the army to go take a census. There were 1,300,000 between Israel and Judah who were capable of holding a sword.
After the census is taken, David feels great guilt and seeks God for forgiveness.
The Lord speaks to the prophet, Gad, and gives David these three options as a punishment.
- Three years of famine through his land
- Three months of fleeing from enemies
- Or three days of severe plague throughout the land.
David decides he wants to fall into the hands of the Lord because God’s mercy is great. He does not want to fall into enemy hands, which, looking at the Psalms David struggled GREATLY with his enemies.
And so it was 3 days of severe plague.
70,000 people died from Dan to Beersheba. (v.16) As the angel was preparing for Jerusalem the Lord said to the death angel, “Stop!” It says the death angel was by the threshing floor of Araunah, a Jebusite. (v.17) Now David SEES the death angel. He says to God that he was the one who did wrong, not the innocent who were killed. He says for God to let His anger go against him.
The prophet Gad goes to David and tells him to build an altar, right there, on the threshing floor to the Lord. When Araunah comes by and sees what is happening, he learns David wants to buy the land to build an altar to stop the plague.
Araunah not only accepts but offers his oxen for burnt offerings, the yokes, and threshing boards to be used as wood. He doesn’t intend on David buying it from him. He would give his king what the king needed.
But David insisted and paid 50 pieces of silver for the threshing floor.
He builds the altar, offers burnt offerings and peace offerings. The Lord answers the prayer and the plague is lifted.
What To Take Away: Chapter 23 is very much about what we leave behind and what we will be remembered for. We do not have to do great feats to make an impact for Christ. Sometimes we never know how we will affect others. I shared a few posts back about Rachel Scott. She was one of the first victims to die at the Columbine Shooting. Her love for Jesus affected many people, and her family had no idea of the impact until her funeral.
Ch. 24 is about being willing to own up to mistakes we make. We need to know that there consequences for our actions and sins. Very often, like David, others get involved. Either we hurt them because of our sin or we involve them in becoming partakers of the sin.
Praise Jesus that we have hope in Him, and He can make things right!
Are you familiar with this story of the census? How can you make a positive impact on someone through Jesus?